Top 10 Movies With AI As The Villain, Ranked According To IMDb

Artificial intelligence is a popular subject in sci-fi movies, with various films exploring the darker side of the technology. From A Space Odyssey’s HAL 9000 to Terminator 2’s T-1000, there have been several iconic AI villains that have appeared on the big screen.

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The best films with AI as villains portray a world where people have taken technology too far and explore the consequences of manmade sentience. Some of these movies take a more nuanced approach to the topic, sometimes portraying the villains as misunderstood victims of humanity’s greed. These highest-rated films on IMDb are often the most groundbreaking, responsible for shaping and redefining multiple movie genres and leaving a lasting impression on viewers around the world.

10 WarGames (1983) – 7.1

WarGames was one of several Cold War films of the '80s that tackled the ramifications of potential nuclear war. It follows the story of David Lightman, a young hacker who initially just wanted to change his grades. He unknowingly accesses the “War Operation Plan Response” (WOPR), which is a supercomputer that learns from war simulations and interactions with humans.

The part-thriller part-teen drama movie portrays what could go wrong if America thinks it’s being targeted with Russian missiles. WOPR can’t tell the difference between reality and simulations, which has disastrous results for soldiers who believe they’re about to be obliterated. While WOPR isn’t the most advanced AI, it’s entertaining to watch it learn the futility of war from a group of teens and a disillusioned scientist.

9 I, Robot – (2004) 7.1

I, Robot is loosely based on Isaac Asimov’s 1950 book of the same name. It takes place in 2035 when humans have created thousands of robots that serve them, working in their homes and offices. Detective Del Spooner doesn’t trust the robots, and, throughout the course of the film, he proves that his suspicions are justified.

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The main antagonist in the movie is “Virtual Interactive Kinetic Intelligence” or VIKI, an AI that has its own interpretation of the Three Laws. These rules govern the robots and prevent them from killing humans, but VIKI’s twisted version leads to an all-out war. I, Robot has a somewhat simplistic and predictable plot, but it’s executed well enough that the film is worth watching at least once.

8 Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) – 7.1

In Colossus: The Forbin Project, Dr. Charles Forbin designs the supercomputer, “Colossus,” in an attempt to protect the United States from outside threats. Things go terribly wrong as it’s unveiled that Russia has been designing a similar AI of their own called “Guardian.”

Despite being an older title, it brilliantly explores the consequences of linking the most powerful AIs and unwittingly helping them achieve world domination. The two systems quickly outpace humans in both mathematical skills and concepts of morality. Under the threat of nuclear war, people learn what it’s like to have their own weapons used against them. It’s a grim look at how powerful machines can become when left unchecked.

7 Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015) – 7.3

After Tony Stark discovers an AI in Loki’s scepter, he accidentally unleashes a major artificial intelligence in the MCU, Ultron. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers must work together to defeat this new enemy who is hellbent on destroying all of humanity.

While it’s not the best MCU film ever made, Age of Ultron holds its own and delivers thrilling sequences and impressive visuals. It raises important questions about the role of heroes and the consequences of their actions. The film didn’t exactly give MCU fans the best character development and heavy-hitting scenes, but it’s still an action-packed marvel with a terrifyingly determined AI at its core.

6 Ex Machina (2014) – 7.7

Ex Machina follows the story of the programmer, Caleb Smith, who has won a competition and is rewarded with a week-long getaway to his company CEO’s estate. When he arrives, he realizes that the real reason he’s brought there is to participate in the Turing test for the CEO’s new humanoid robot, Ava.

The chilling events that follow turn the small house into a chaotic bunker, with Caleb constantly confused by Ava’s manipulation and seduction. Ava turns out to be much smarter and more cunning than any of them realized, especially when she demonstrates her ability to read and play with human emotions. The confined space in which the entire movie takes place gives it a heightened intensity, with every new twist shocking audiences all the way to its ambiguous conclusion.

5 Blade Runner (1982) – 8.1

When Blade Runner was released in 1982, it portrayed a dystopian version of Los Angeles in 2019 where the world has managed to create genetically engineered humanoids known as replicants. Rick Deckard, who was part of the police force at the time, is forced by his boss to track down a group of rebellious replicants led by the film’s main antagonist, Roy Batty.

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Despite being packaged as a typical villain with his white hair and leather jacket, Roy Batty’s story is more nuanced than it may seem. The film tackles deeper issues of greed and the definition of life, with replicants really only wanting the same rights and freedom that humans have. It leaves viewers wondering about the concept of artificial intelligence and questioning where the line between artificial intelligence and genuine intelligence lies.

4 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – 8.3

2001: A Space Odyssey gave audiences the iconic HAL 9000, a supercomputer with a mind of its own. When Dr. Dave Bowman and his team embark on a mission to Jupiter, HAL decides it knows what’s best for them and begins a murderous chain of events.

A Space Odyssey explores existentialist themes and establishes artificial intelligence as a viable subject for films. It thrust sci-fi films into the limelight with its brilliant shots and complex story. The movie undoubtedly gives viewers more questions than answers about life and artificial intelligence, but its ambiguity is part of what makes it so compelling and unforgettable.

3 Wall-E (2008) – 8.4

Wall-E is centered on the lovable robot of the same name, who goes on an epic space adventure with his newfound companion, Eve. After years of isolation on a dystopian version of earth covered with garbage, Wall-E discovers that there’s more to life than churning out trash cubes and hanging out with his cockroach.

In many ways, Wall-E is a scary and disturbing portrayal of the future of the planet and an even more terrifying glimpse into how AI can determine humanity’s fate. The main antagonist, Auto, is an AI that was meant to send humans back to earth once it has been deemed viable for life. Despite proof from Wall-E and Eve, it decides that the best course of action is to keep the morbidly obese humans floating around in space forever. It’s a surprisingly moving film that shows the protagonist’s struggles to get humans back home.

2 Terminator 2 (1991) – 8.5

The Terminator series is an action-packed franchise that explores the relationship between man and machine. Without a doubt, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, is among the best, if not the best film in the franchise. It follows Linda Hamilton, the heroine from the prequel, her son, and T-800, as they attempt to evade and defeat the powerful T-1000.

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It’s a film that still evokes the same feelings of thrill and excitement decades after its initial release. It has exhilarating battle scenes that feature the terrifying Skynet assassin at its best, with his freaky shapeshifting abilities and unblinking stare. The movie showcases the worst of artificial intelligence, while also featuring the best aspects of the technology through the ever-reliable and protective T-800.

1 The Matrix (1999) – 8.7

As the first and best movie in the franchise, The Matrix introduced fans to the thrilling world of Neo, who lives in a simulated reality designed by intelligent machines. Neo and his team battle against the formidable machines led by the vicious AI, Agent Smith, in an effort to fight for their reality.

There are a lot of things about The Matrix that still hold up today, including its existentialist theme, innovative bullet-time effects, and, of course, its villain. The fight scenes that feature the One and Agent Smith are unforgettable sequences, especially because of Neo’s ability to manipulate the simulated reality. It’s not surprising that The Matrix got such a high rating on IMDb, and fans can only hope that the upcoming movie, The Matrix 4, will revive the franchise to its former glory.

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